If I Were To Die Today is the new book, this one follows on from the Dark Ramblings of the Phoenix. Although, stand alone. As always with my books, please take special care of yourself if any of these may trigger you.
Living with someone.
I try to hide my struggles as best I can from my partner, of course that is hard at the best of times. It’s different though when living with someone. Not only do I have to try all the time to keep my issues hidden, not because my partner is cold or judgmental, quite the opposite actually, but more for my own shame. I know I am ill, but I don’t like to show it to the people in my everdays. I don’t want them to see that I am struggling. So I have tactics to hide things. Ways that I have adapted myself to cope with my illness and hiding it.
When my I have to wash my hands more times than normal, I do it out of sight, when my partner has to go somewhere unexpectedly rather than crumble into a mess of abandonment I seek an extra hug, another kiss or just a touch and allow myself to know that this is okay. That my partner is coming back.
My partner of course doesn’t know of my books. I have not talked of my abuse. It is very hard for me to be able to share the events of my childhood with those that I have to look at. So I don’t, but for me this means that I have to watch my issues, because my partner does not know why they are there or where they came from.
At night I sleep with the light on, I have to admit that I do not like the dark. I have to have the door shut tight and things in certain places to ensure that I can feel safe enough or as safe as can be to go to sleep. Living with someone, it interferes with all of my coping devices. It pushes the boundaries I have set in place for myself so that I can feel okay. I have to adjust, not just my problems, but to the needs of my partner too.
However, it is the right decision and maybe after opening my home I will be able to open the door to the inside of myself too and let my partner fully in.
It’s like a new adventure in my life. 🙂
Do you have siblings? Had friends when you were small? Did you fall out with them? Hit them? Be mean to them? Normal children’s behaviour right?
How often do we see children bickering and pushing each other, nipping and biting. I have a granddaughter in her terrible toddler phase. She bites, she kicks and as she does it she laughs. Is she evil for this? A bad child? No, she is simply a two year old being a child and pushing boundaries. She is just a child and her innocence protects her.
What about in five years’ time? She’ll be seven. What if she has a sibling them who she chooses to pick on? Takes delight in making them cry? Or a school friend she falls out with and kicks in some childish temper tantrum?
Granted she’d be told off, reprimanded in some way, or least we would hope so to teach her right from wrong. As with all children the chance of her acting that way again is likely, and again she will be reprimanded and told that her actions are wrong. It’s how children learn.
Any parent reading or someone with experience of children probably agrees that this is just normal childish behaviour, children being naughty nothing more and as adults it’s our job to teach them right from wrong. Age her again, perhaps to ten or eleven this time. Are her actions still wrong? Picking on a younger sibling, does that make her evil? Hitting someone at school, would that make her potentially a threat when she is an adult? I don’t think so. Perhaps something would need to be looked at if it was excessive as to why she was acting this way, but as a society, we would brush this behaviour off as a child being just that, a child.
It’s not the child’s fault right?
What if a ten year old child coerces another child into a sexual act? What if a child subjects another child to watching pornographic scenes or films or even talking about it? What if a ten year old child were to have sex with another child? What if a child raped another child?
Do we say the child is sick? Because the act is different than just violence, do we point at the child and say they should have known these acts were wrong? They should have known not to do that? Do we label them sexual abusers or predators? What if sexual abuse is all the child knows and they are merely acting out what they have been taught? Because they haven’t been taught sexual abuse is wrong. So is what they are doing actually wrong?
Why does society accept children being violent and mean and dismiss it as children being children, yet sexual acts, we have the makings of a sexual monster. Isn’t it just the same?
Can children be sexual abusers in the same context that and adult can?
To Mum and Dad
I’m sorry. I just needed to say that as I near the end of writing the last book of Teddy. I need to tell you I’m sorry. I’m sorry for writing. Sorry for the way it makes you both look to the world outside, one that doesn’t know you the way I do and doesn’t understand. I just needed to get these things out. They’ve stuck in my mind for so long that they are part of my everyday thoughts, I couldn’t keep it all inside anymore. I’m sorry.
I don’t write them to hurt you. I don’t want to hurt you at all, not ever. I know you’ll be upset if you ever saw my books. Probably deny everything too because you’d read the words the same way any reader, reads them, like it’s your fault. And I know it isn’t. I know these things that I write about are as much me as they are you. I know deep inside if I had never been your child you would never have partaken in the activities you did. I created you just as you created me and I’m sorry.
I wish I could go away, not now, but in the past. A long time ago when I wouldn’t matter to anyone at all. I didn’t matter to you because I was so bad. Why did you not just go that step too far? Why did you not kill me for the things I did and the things I made you do?
I want so very much just to cut through my skin and make it hurt, to stare at that face in the mirror like I did as a boy and watch him suffer. He deserves it, but the face isn’t little anymore. He’s hiding somewhere I can’t reach him. I’d make him pay if I could. He deserves it.
I’m sorry for showing the world our secrets.
About 18 months ago my father had asked to talk to me about birthday and Christmas gifts. He gave me some form of lecture, or rather speech, pleading his poverty to me and explaining how he couldn’t afford Christmas and birthdays anymore and that perhaps he and I should just leave them, because of course I am all grown up now and don’t need those things from him.
Whilst I somewhat agreed with what he was saying, it did make me wonder. What birthday gifts? What Christmas gifts? He doesn’t even know when my birthday is, I think he only knows Christmas because it’s an international celebration and there isn’t much escaping it, but these gifts? I didn’t ask where they were, I just said okay.
However, It got me out of the yearly commitments that my status as son gives me. Except for father’s day, he still insisted on cards for those, but for the last two years I haven’t given him any. Since writing Teddy things like father’s day cards feel like a lie, and unless Hallmark brings out a range that says, “I only bought this because I was obligated,” this will be a yearly battle for me not to get him one.
It was his birthday just recently; I had to go around to his house to take something there. I hadn’t been for a good year after telling him to get out of my life. It’s always odd to walk into the house that I grew up in. I still go and stand in the spot as a child that I was only permitted to stand in. I still don’t use the bathroom without permission first and often I just don’t use it and I don’t under any circumstance venture into any other rooms in the house without permission or invitation.
I stand there, feet slightly apart, hands held together behind my back, quiet and watching, just as I did when I was a child. Waiting and on guard. Stood where I can see every angle. It’s an automatic thing. I didn’t go near my father as I placed the card down that was from my children to him to wish him a happy birthday, and I know maybe some readers will say he doesn’t deserve it, but he does actually bother with my children on their birthdays and as far as manners are concerned, I think the children should at least give him a card on his day.
My brother arrived as I was stood there, his arms laden with gifts for our father. He and his girlfriend wished our father a happy birthday and talked like normal people. I felt so out of place stood there. Once again not fitting with them, there was me, stood outside this family which I am biologically related to, but as always treated like I am stranger. Such a stranger that I don’t even have a father I am allowed to with happy birthday too.
Sometimes it is the little things that I realise I had taken from me.
When I had gone home again, my brother called me, he asked why I didn’t get our father anything, not even a card. He thought I was being shitty, but found it strange because he knows that is not me. I told him, not the full story of course, but that I had been told I wasn’t allowed. My brother’s response was shock. He suggested perhaps our dad was in a bad mood that day or something. Of course my brother doesn’t know the things my father would do to me. He doesn’t know about the sexual abuse, as strange as that may seem.
I don’t know who has it worse, the son who has a father he loves and loves him back, but it’s an illusion, or the son who knows everything and aches for the father he never had, knowing and feeling that there is no love there.
The grass isn’t always greener.
Why did you do that?
Have you ever been on a diet and tried to resist a bar of chocolate? Been in a shop and wanted to buy something, but know you can’t? Smoked that cigarette when trying to quit? Have you ever tried to resist something that your mind wants but you know you can’t?
It plays on you right? The want gets bigger and bigger and it becomes all you can think about until you give in. Of course there is a little guilt after, feelings of slight shame that you gave in?
Imagine that want or desire for something so much stronger inside. That is what it is like for someone that suffers OCD. It is no secret that I was diagnosed with it. Probably not really a surprise either. Right now I have a really bad spell of it, my hands look like I have ran them along a cheese grater a few times they are that sore and because as a child I developed the need to be able to feel and hear letters pronounced properly and the fact that I am slightly deaf is driving me crazy, because I have to try and block out the outside noise from that ear in order to receive the satisfaction from hearing letters and sounds.
It’ll pass I’m sure, right now I just have things to deal with that come out this way for me.
One thing I wanted to talk about in this post was family members, not mine necessarily, but in general. Family and friends. Why when they know someone suffers this terrible illness do they think it is funny to tease? Stupid things like moving something out of place on purpose, removing soap, putting dirty hand prints on something and various other ways that people like to tease.
I was at Uni not so long ago when someone made a passing comment about their house being so messy due to studying and perhaps they should advertise for someone with OCD to come and clean it for them, of course a lot of the class found this to be a funny comment. Would they say something like that about a person with a physical illness? Would people mock a person in a wheelchair because they can’t run? Put something up high and laugh because the person can’t stand to get it? No, I don’t think they would. So why is it funny to mock the mentally ill?
Perhaps these people don’t realise with these laughs and jokes, and teasing’s they do don’t just make the sufferer feel ashamed to be ill, but they also make the illness worse in that moment.
That’s the word. I say it to myself so many times. Over and over until the tears are rolling down my cheeks and I can’t stop them. I try, but I can’t breathe, my chest feels so tight as I force my tears not to become heaving sobs. I stare down at what I’m doing.
Why do I have to do this? I don’t understand.
I can’t do it anymore. I can’t. I can’t breathe.
I don’t want anyone to look at me. I’m a freak. I know I am. I can’t help it. I say it loud to myself. “Freak, freak, freak. Fucking stop it. You stupid fucking freak. Stop it. Stop it right now.”
I can’t. I can’t make it go away. Nothing makes it go away. I wish I could die. Maybe it would stop then. I wish I could be normal, but I’m not. I don’t want anyone to see me. I don’t want them to look. They will hate me. They will know I am a freak too.
“Stop it, step away.” I take a deep breath.
Another minute more is another minute my chest aches inside. I try not to cry, bite my lip, hold my breath, anything to keep it all away, but I cant. The pounding in my head, I open my mouth to let out a sob, quietly so that no one can hear me. I don’t want them to see this. I don’t want them to see me.
What would they think? What would they say?
I take another deep breath, glance out of the window. The sun shines outside and for a moment I close my eyes and try to imagine the feel of the sun on my skin, the way the warmth seeps inside and makes everything right again. Just for a second I can pretend that I am normal and I am okay, but then the sting brings me back to reality and I remember. I am not like everyone else.
The niggling feeling inside beckons. I look at my hand, the blood that comes from them, like tiny bubbles from each and every cut, but still I pump the stuff into my hands, try not to wince as the antiseptic sting feels like a million needle bites. I rub It in, all around and try to fight the pain. Like someone is peeling the skin from my hands. I want them to stop, but I can’t, because it’s me.
If I just did everything right, took it slowly. I stand, not moving for a moment and then I rinse the solution from my hands, the warm water offers some comfort for a moment as it eases the pain a little, enough that I can think and gather my thoughts. So that I can calm myself down. “Just do it slowly, get it right this time. Don’t fuck it up.”
I start again, reach over, pump the stuff into my hand one more time. It hurts again, makes me lose my breath for a second because the pain is sharp, but it is good. Slowly, slowly. Do it right. I rub my hands, the tears still roll down my cheeks, it hurts so badly, but I have to do it right. It’s the only way out. The only way to stop this.
Happy now? I rinse the solution off again, slowly, watching that its right this time. I did it correctly.
“But what if?” that voice again, I hate it. What if I did it wrong? What if its still there? What if they are not clean enough?
I sigh. Begin again. Do it right this time.
If you saw this would you laugh at me then? Would you think it funny to make jokes? I wish people could see these moments, so in the times they chose to laugh, they see this is what they are laughing at.
Holier than thou, one of those sayings I never really heard nor understood until I decided to quit smoking. A failed attempt many many years ago, I had tried to use Allan Carr’s method of quitting smoking and it was a term he used, “do not become a holier than thou ex-smoker.” Of course I wondered what he actually meant.
Then I came to learn that it was those ex-smokers that try to guilt trip, belittle the smoker into also quitting. Why? Because they managed, they quit, now they are superior or holier than thou. I find this mind-set also with abuse survivors and although I know what it means, I do not understand how it is people are like that.
There are a couple of online support groups that I have left because such people like this run them. I survived my child abuse; you do it like this, just get on with it.
It feels somewhat like a pool filled with people struggling to climb out, but when one survivor gets free they stand on the edge looking down and gone is the empathy, but it is replaced by some odd form of judgement. Like they forgot what it is like to feel that grief inside.
I followed someone’s page, which I have since left; the man who runs it is a survivor. He created the page to help others such as himself, commendable of course, but what I have seen is that if there is someone not at the same stage of healing as him, they are told to pick themselves up, get on with it, get over it, he can do it, so can they and they he spouts on about himself. He created a page to help others, yet he doesn’t seem to have the patience to help those that need it. However, when someone congratulates him on what he is doing for survivors he replies, thinks it’s great himself, almost like they are putting him in this pedestal for how much he has achieved. It feels as though the term I am a childhood abuse survivor is like an heroic medal.
I see this kind of thing often though, it is not just this man, it is many others, I hope I don’t become like that. I hope that I can remember what it is like when I am distressed, hurting and in pain that what I needed was a hand or an arm, not a beating. I’ve had enough of those.
Helping a survivor I think is not about standing on the edge of the pool saying you can do it, just jump, it is holding their hands, wiping the tears and allowing them to stay in that pool until they feel safe enough themselves to climb out.
I ramble once again 🙂
It wasn’t until coming out into the world about my childhood did I learn and understand that my totally illogical fear of the dentist is actually quite common amongst people that were abused as children. I found this fascinating because I didn’t understand that there would be a link at all, even though my own irrational fear does trigger many of the things from childhood, I never saw that there was a correlation between the two.
I found that I wasn’t the only one with this fear. I know dental fear isn’t just in those that have been abused, it is a common fear in general, but what I found about the link between child sexual abuse and dental fear made a lot of sense to me and explained why I have it.
I stare now at the letter that has come from my dentist, just a copy that is referring me to the hospital for sedation. I’m only having a rebuild on a back tooth that I smashed a couple of months ago, nothing major. But there is no way I can get in the dental chair for work to be done. In fact just to have it looked at, I couldn’t lie back, he had to view it with me mostly sat upright and my other half in the room.
I asked him to please not use any instruments in my mouth, not even the mirror. I was shaking and my breathing was going, all he was doing was looking into my mouth to assess the damage I had done to this tooth. “It’s easy to fix,” he told me.
Easy? Not at all, just sitting in that chair wasn’t easy. He said he could fix it there and then, I asked if instead he could remove all my teeth. And yes I really did ask, because I hate this fear, I look after my teeth so much to save myself the trauma of the dentist, that I thought if I just had them removed, the only thing I’ll ever have to endure is having a cast of my mouth taken. He said no. At 36 years old, he said by the time I reached my 60’s my gums would have receded so much that not even dentures would hold and he wasn’t about to start removing teeth that were healthy.
Of course I understood what he was saying, and told him he couldn’t fix my tooth. I saw my other half sigh. But I just couldn’t bring myself to say yes. I asked to be sedated.
So now I have this letter that states severe needle fear, which is funny because it isn’t. Needles don’t bother me, the ex-drug abuser in me laughed. I am not afraid of needles at all.
But what the dentist does cause:
- Having to lie back while a dentist examines my mouth (usually a man)
- Having to trust a person of authority.
- The anticipation of pain
- Feeling smothered
- Instruments in my mouth as well as fingers
- Lack of control (which goes back to the authority figure having control)
- Hands over my mouth and nose
- Fear of not being able to breathe or swallow
- Fear of gagging
- Worried about the dentist getting annoyed
- Feeling restrained.
It seems that many dental procedures remind me and others like me of abusive experiences.
I really hate when it feels like I am crying on the inside and no one can see. I don’t even know why it’s there, it’s been a couple of days now, even an attempt at self-harming yesterday didn’t change it. In fact half way through self-harming I stopped because it felt pointless in that moment.
I sit outside today on my decking and watch my granddaughter. She sits in the sun with her teddy bear, waves at me and blows me a kiss. Then she decides to get up, race over to me and in that way toddlers have, shout Par-par as she runs, because of course she hasn’t learnt to say Granddad. And even with those little arms around my neck, and the chocolate face against mine, inside it feels like I am alone. Maybe it is because I am writing Teddy 3.5, maybe it is just because of other things. I am not sure. I do know I hate when I feel this way and why I am writing this here, just to get it out.
Maybe it will pass later, I hope so, until then, if I am quiet this is why. The world feels like it’s moving and I have stopped. I’m caught in something waiting to catch up. Maybe tomorrow I can stop feeling like I’m looking in from the outside.
P.s I will remember to buy a damn light bulb today.
It’s just a stupid light bulb.
Strange topic for a blog post I know, but that’s what’s troubling me at the moment. A stupid light bulb. The one in the hallway blew out two nights ago and once again I have forgotten to replace it. The night arrives and darkness falls and suddenly the door to my lounge becomes like the door to a prison cell.
Probably a strange concept to those that aren’t afraid, not that I am afraid of the dark, that doesn’t bother me at all, it’s the vision the dark gives me. The mental flashbacks that get triggered by a light not working. It makes me so frustrated with myself, it doesn’t matter how often I tell myself he isn’t real, he can’t come any more. He does not exist, the child inside does not want to listen.
I lie on the sofa at night trying to sleep and all I can feel is the anticipation of his hands in my hair yanking my head back, his nails digging into my arms, or his teeth in my skin and everything else that follows. All because I forgot to change a stupid light bulb.
I can’t even go out there, not even to go to my kitchen to grab a drink or to my bathroom. It’s like being a child once again. Even sleeping alone at night is a task, all I want to do is sit up and check that he isn’t here, but no amount of checking reassures me, because what if this time when I close my eyes, he comes. I feel like I’m an adult with a child’s logic sometimes when it is like this.
Once the night comes down, I know, no one will hear me scream and no one will come to help.